2012 Oregon Adopts System of Marine Reserves
2008 Proposed Sites for Marine Reserves
Ecologically important areas in Oregon (PDF)
Oregon's Marine Reserve Process
Oregon's Territorial Sea Planning Process
Our Ocean Needs Our Help
Our ocean is showing signs of stress. Global warming, pollution, population increases and coastal development are just some of the factors causing troubling changes in Oregon's marine habitats and wildlife.
What are marine reserves?
Marine reserves are areas of the ocean fully protected from any activity that removes animals or plants or alters habitats, except for scientific monitoring. Marine reserves also remain open for recreational activities, such as diving and kayaking. People sometimes refer to marine reserves as ‘marine preserves’ or ‘underwater parks.’
Marine protected areas?
Marine protected areas are portions of the ocean that are off-limits to some activities (such as oil drilling and trawling), while still allowing other activities, such as limited fishing or crabbing. Other allowable activities include surfing, clamming, diving, vessel transport, safe harbor anchoring and other non-extractive activities. The level of protection can range from partial to full.
Has anyone else tried this yet?
Yes. There are at least 4,500 marine protected areas (including at least 250 marine reserves) around the world. Oregon is the only state on the Pacific Coast that currently does not have marine reserves.
Scientific studies from 124 marine reserves around the world show that they can bring about dramatic changes in the size, diversity, and abundance of marine life living within.
Biomass = 446% higher: The total combined weight of marine animals and plants in a given area was on average almost five times higher in marine reserves than outside of them. 7
Diversity = 21% more: The number of different species to be found in a given area increased an average of 21 percent inside marine reserves. 8
Density = 166% increase: The total number of plants or animals in a given area increased an average of 166 percent inside marine reserves. 9
Body size = 28% bigger: Animals in marine reserves were an average of 28 percent bigger than animals outside them. 10
Bigger fish = more young: Fishes and invertebrates grow larger in marine reserves than in unprotected areas, which means they have a better chance to reach prime reproductive age.
Why this matters
Bigger, more abundant, and more diverse marine life is one benefit of the healthy ecosystems made possible by marine reserves. But marine reserves also work on a more subtle level: a healthy marine ecosystem is likely to be more resilient, able to bounce back from environmental and human-caused stresses ranging from climate change to pollution to fishing.
70% of Oregonians approve!
In a July 2008 Grove Insight poll of 500 voters statewide, 70% of Oregonians and 67% of those living in coastal counties supported the establishment of marine protected areas, including marine reserves, in our state waters.
1. See http://ww http://www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/gfsafe0406/Yeye06_entire_final.pdf, page 7. w.pcouncil.org/groundfish/gfsafe0406/Canary_2005-complete_document.pdf, page 12;
2. Update to the status of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) off the U.S. West Coast in 2007 (PDF), Status of the U.S. canary rockfish resource in 2005 (PDF), SSC Groundfish Subcommittee Report on Rebuilding Analyses for Overfished Rockfish (PDF).
3. Hixon, M.A. and B.N Tissot. 2007. Comparison of trawled vs untrawled mud seafloor assemblages of fishes and macroinvertebrates at Coquille Bank, Oregon. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 344:23-34.
4. e.g. Cowlitz Indian Tribe petitions to list Columbia River eulachon as threatened or endangered. 73 Fed Reg. 13185 (March 12, 2008).
5. Oregon Progress Board, 2000 State of the Environment Report, Statewide Summary. Salem, Oregon.
6. Evidence for Upwelling of Corrosive "Acidified" Water onto the Continental Shelf. Richard A. Feely, Christopher L. Sabine, J. Martin Hernandez-Ayon, Debby Ianson, and Burke Hales (22 May 2008), Science [DOI: 10.1126/science.1155676.]
7. Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans. 2007. The Science of Marine Reserves (2nd Edition, United States Version). www.piscoweb.org. 22 pages.